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Not Punk Rock
by Matt Crawford on May 11, 2006
MC Lars is not punk rock. He makes post-punk laptop rap. But, the Oakland-raised Stanford University graduate has some punk rock ties and he's calling out Hot Topic on his radio-friendly collaboration with The Matches "Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock". He spoke with SF Station from the road in Pennsylvania. He performs with The Matches at Slim's May 28th.
SF Station (SFS): You have labeled yourself as post-punk laptop rap. What does that mean?
MC Lars: It's post-punk in that post-Sex Pistols bands evolved and brought rebellious, individualistic ideas of the punk rock era into the post-punk era. When I say post-punk I mean bands that came out of the ashes of punk rock. It's laptop rap because it's rap music and I make all the beats on a laptop. That sums it all up.
SFS: Are there any other post-punk laptop rappers out there?
MC Lars: I think the Anticon people definitely bring inspiration. They have a different style and maybe a different way of recording, but I think they are the closest thing. They don't really use the pop samples as much.
SFS: What happens if your laptop crashes, do you lose everything?
MC Lars: I guess. That's the problem with technology -- it makes things so much easier, but then we become excessively reliant on it. When I play live, I always have a backup computer with me in case something goes wrong, so I don't have that fiasco.
SFS: Have you ever shopped at Hot Topic?
MC Lars: I bought a Minor Threat album there because some stores don't carry a lot of indie label stuff. I don't support them regularly. They don't suck completely. It's just what they have become represents the corruption of any kind of rebellion, or revolution in music or culture. It just becomes replicated and very corporate and loses its initial intention.
SFS: What is punk rock these days?
MC Lars: I don't know. I ask myself that a lot. I think punk rock is being yourself and doing something different. Not just for the sake of doing something different, but because it is in you. Musically, it's doing your own kind of music and doing it despite if or if not it leads to success.
The point of that song is I don't necessarily know what punk rock is, but I know what it is not. It's not Tinkerbell pillowcases.
SFS: You went to Stanford University. What did you study?
MC Lars: I studied English literature. I finished last August with an emphasis in 19th century American literature. Not many people from there are doing what I'm doing. Everybody is on a professional track.
SFS: Did being close to the Silicon Valley, influence your "laptop rap" genre?
MC Lars: Yeah. Computers are such a part of that world, it's hard to escape that as a creative tool.
SFS: You went to Oxford in England on exchange. It seems like that is where your music career blossomed, is that correct?
MC Lars: If I had not gone to Oxford, I would not be doing this. It all stems from the lucky chance of a label out there hearing me. I realized that for me, in order to stand out and be interesting, I had to go to another country.
SFS: That's similar to what Jimi Hendrix did back in the 60s.
MC Lars: Yeah, definitely. I haven't thought of that, but you're right. But, he's a little bit more musically inclined, I think.
MC Lars performs with The Matches at Slims May 28th. Admission is $14. The concert starts at 7:30 pm.
by Matt Crawford on May 11, 2006